Mangroves as alien species: the case of Hawaii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Prior to the early 1900s, there were no mangroves in the Hawaiian Archipelago. In 1902, Rhizophora mangle was introduced on the island of Molokai, primarily for the purpose of stabilizing coastal mud flats. This species is now well established in Hawaii, and is found on nearly all of the major islands. At least five other species of mangroves or associated species were introduced to Hawaii in the early 1900s, and while none has thrived to the degree of R. mangle, at least two have established self-maintaining populations (Bruguiera gymnorrhiza and Conocarpus erectus). Mangroves are highly regarded in most parts of the tropics for the ecosystem services they provide, but in Hawaii they also have important negative ecological and economic impacts. Known negative impacts include reduction in habitat quality for endangered waterbirds such as the Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), colonization of habitats to the detriment of native species (e.g. in anchialine pools), overgrowing native Hawaiian archaeological sites, and causing drainage and aesthetic problems. Positive impacts appear to be fewer, but include uses of local importance, such as harvesting B. gymnorrhiza flowers for lei-making, as well as some ecological services attributed to mangroves elsewhere, such as sediment retention and organic matter export. From a research perspective, possible benefits of the presence of mangroves in Hawaii include an unusual opportunity to evaluate their functional role in coastal ecosystems and the chance to examine unique or rare species interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-71
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography Letters
Volume7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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Hawaii (island)
Rhizophoraceae
introduced species
mangrove
Ecosystem
Bruguiera gymnorhiza
Rhizophora mangle
Islands
Conocarpus erectus
Molokai
Oceanic Ancestry Group
Introduced Species
water birds
aesthetics
economic impact
habitats
Esthetics
ecosystem services
functional role
Drainage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Mangroves as alien species : the case of Hawaii. / Allen, James A.

In: Global Ecology and Biogeography Letters, Vol. 7, No. 1, 01.1998, p. 61-71.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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